Presence of Another

The nurses in the ICU had said I was going to rehabilitation, but since I’ve only heard rehab synonymous with addicts, I have no idea what to expect. The huge collar around my neck prevents me from seeing much beyond the EMT, so I’ve got nowhere else to focus my fear. I try again.

By the Neck

Suddenly, the baby’s head was in my hands and I saw the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck—the neck, oh my, with all those critical bits of anatomy. I held that big slippery baby head in my left hand and slid a couple of fingers under the purple rope and lifted it loose and then the infant slipped out of the mother, into my arms. Finally, the baby could breathe. I could breathe.

Mental Health Days

With practiced pain, I delivered an Oscar-worthy performance of smiles and congratulations, and then escaped to the bathroom and sobbed until my eyes were bloodshot.

Your Cane

Even your children, Mom and daee, tried lecturing you, but I knew you didn’t regret it. The sour taste you adored was still in your mouth.

Claiming Missing Inheritance

At the Whitney Museum, David Wojnarowicz’s portrait of his friend Peter Hujar claims its own wall. Ten feet back, I twist from parallel to perpendicular, unexpectedly lingering instead of walking by.

Lost Vessels

Memory is not kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing damaged ceramics with a mixture of lacquer and powdered gold. There are ugly seams. There is no glittering dust poured into the fractures between sentences.

Mad Love

You don’t know hunger. Not like we did. You don’t know hunger that surpasses pain. When your body is too weak to send distress signals. When your organs have shifted from fight to flight, to surrender. When you don’t even have energy to fuel the aching. I’ve been there.

All Our Relations

What if our evolution as humans was measured by how graciously and profoundly we related to the living world around us?

Close to the Bones

It was a relentlessly sunny day in July, a week after my fifteenth birthday, when I was admitted to the hospital. I remember staring out the side window of the Chevette’s back seat, trying to follow the hypnotic movement of the unraveling yellow line